Basic Life Support Awareness and Knowledge in High School Students


  • Rishit Chilappa Student
  • Michael J. Waxman, MD



Basic Life Support (BLS), Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), Automated External Defibrillator (AED)


INTRODUCTION. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States1. When cardiovascular disease results in cardiac arrest, the ability to perform basic life support (BLS) can change the outcome from death to survival. There is no definitive statistical data on high schoolers’ awareness of BLS.

METHODS. A survey-based research study was conducted to find high schoolers’ awareness of BLS. 105 students, primarily from Kansas City suburbs, took a survey with questions ranging from their views on whether BLS courses should be integrated into the high school curriculum to the steps they would take when a person collapses on the ground. Results were analyzed to determine the students’ knowledge of different aspects of BLS and their interest in taking a BLS course in school.

RESULTS. Over 70% of the students would take a BLS course should it be offered in a high school class. Most students answered questions regarding BLS steps correctly but lacked critical knowledge on an automated external defibrillator (AED).    

CONCLUSIONS. We have found that although over 70% of the students were aware of the basics of BLS, most students lacked knowledge on the critical aspects of BLS, such as the use of an AED. Most students recognize the importance of BLS in the high school curriculum and would acquire the skills in a high school class. We conclude that introducing a BLS course in the high school curriculum would improve the students’ knowledge and contribute to improved survival rates of victims of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest2.


Author Biography

Michael J. Waxman, MD

Education Professor of Medicine at Kansas University Medical Center.

Director of ICU and PCU at Research Medical Center.






Original Research